Toggle Dark Mode
If you’re seeing green when you first unlock your iPhone, don’t worry — you don’t need to get your eyes checked. It’s not just you.
An increasing number of reports are appearing from users who are encountering an unusual green tint that lasts for a few seconds when first unlocking their iPhone, as noted by several posts on Reddit and in the MacRumors forums.
As MacRumors points out, the issue seems to primarily affect users of the iPhone 11 Pro models, although the LCD-based iPhone 11 isn’t immune either, and there have been some complaints of users seeing it on the iPhone X, iPhone XS, and iPhone XR. Some have reported seeing the problem, or variations of it, since they first got their iPhone 11 Pro last fall, while many others are suggesting that it began appearing sometime around the release of iOS 13.4.1.
It’s unclear what’s causing this problem, although it’s believed to be a software issue, suggesting that a future iOS release could fix it. It also seems to happen most commonly when users are in Dark Mode and have Night Shift enabled, which would also point to it being an iOS-level problem rather than a hardware defect.
Poor Color Matching
In fact, the most likely scenario is that iOS may be incorrectly compensating for ambient light conditions when the iPhone screen first comes on. Features like True Tone and Night Shift, which have been included in the iPhone for the past few years, are both designed to adjust the color of an iPhone screen based on time of day and ambient lighting conditions.
These features are controlled entirely at the iOS software level, leading to the suggestion that a bug in more recent iOS versions isn’t processing information properly from the light sensors, either interpreting the data incorrectly or more likely just not reading it quickly enough after the screen comes on, resulting in a momentary shift into the green end of the spectrum before iOS has a chance to compensate.
If true, this would actually be similar to the ghost keyboard bug that’s plagued some iPhone users for about two years now, which also seems to be a case of iOS not responding quickly enough to a change in state — in this case, leaving part of the password keyboard interface active after the iPhone is unlocked.
Can I Fix It?
Right now it’s extremely difficult to tell what’s causing the problem due to the wide variety of reports, and there’s no specific known workaround, as even users who are experiencing the problem haven’t actually been able to nail down the exact conditions under which it occurs.
Further, it’s entirely possible that some users may be experiencing this as the result of a hardware issue, especially for those few who have reported a similar — but not quite identical — problem occurring prior to iOS 13.4.
However, if you’re experiencing this issue you can try disabling some of the advanced color management features such as True Tone, Night Shift, and Dark Mode on your iPhone. You can find all of these in your iPhone Settings app under Display & Brightness. Night Shift and Dark Mode can also be toggled on and off quickly from the iPhone Control Center.
Hopefully, this will ultimately turn out to be a software issue that Apple will soon address in a future iOS update. Apple has already released iOS 13.5.5 to beta testers, although there have been some sparse reports from users running the public beta who are still experiencing the problem. Fortunately, though, while the issue may be irritating for those who are encountering it, the good news is that it’s purely a cosmetic problem that shouldn’t most people’s ability to actually use their iPhones.